By Laura Kebby
I love it when timing seems to fall in your favour. When certain things align it really restores your faith in the world. This happened to me one Tuesday evening as I was walking towards the Workers Club, getting keen for a pint (of your cheapest beer) and some solid interview prep when an email from bandcamp popped up on my phone. “New music from the Girl Fridas - New single Daggers”. I walked around the block three more times with the tune slowly yet surely being burned into my brain.
As soon as that guitar kicked in, there was suddenly a whole lot more behind my step. Not a spring, no… they were far too punk rock for that, but I felt a good foot taller and as though I was walking to go meet my girl gang and rrriot. With lyrics like “How does it feel to walk behind your dick/in front of you/it governs you/it doesn't govern me”. I guess this can be said for all of the songsby the Girl Fridas but, “Daggers” didn't just sound or even read like a song. It was a commentary on the world around them, an unapologetic societal view said with such substance and clarity that you can’t help but take notice. Now I’m even getting distracted thinking about it. I was talking about timing wasn't I? Apologies I’ll get back on track. The timing was perfect as I was on my way to see the first night of the Girl Fridas month long residency, who would joined by fellow Sad Grrrls Club alumni Shiny Coin and of course Rachel Maria Cox, and I really couldn't wait to meet Alice, Shannon and Bianca. Thankfully, I was able to sit down with the band prior to the gig, to chat about sailor moon, the patriarchy and making incredible music.
“I love the single” I fangirled immediately, rookie music journo error I thought as I quickly added “I think it makes me too aggressive in public though”. “Hey as long as you’ve got a productive outlet we encourage that absolutely!” responds guitarist/vocalist Alice. I cut to the chase and asked about the crux of the message behind the single, and exactly what it meant to the band. The stand out appendage related line was explained as follows; “I had this conversation with my friend, it was like… how does it even feel to be a man. I mean literally their dick enters the room before they do. How is that…? They have to live up to this precedent which seems to govern their sense of masculinity”. Alice was so matter of fact and articulate in her explanation that I was really taken aback and needed to know more. “Daggers was really a precipitation of a lot of angst, triggered by a particular moment of catcalling” Alice adds. This explantation was further expanded upon by drummer Bianca. “A lot of our songs are responses to different things that have happened in a recent time in our lives”.
For me the greatest thing about this band was the solidarity of foundation that they all shared. Here they were. three very smart, very talented women, not only finding their voice but they were actually using it. Seemingly fighting the patriarchy by daylight and making music by moonlight (…never running from a real fight - I enjoyed the Sailor Moon reference greatly. Consider this a virtual high five from me to you Shannon). Speaking of patriarchy, the Girl Fridas have self labeled as a feminist band. And rightly so (have I mentioned lately that they are awesome?). But this particular label can and very unfortunately, sometimes come at a cost. Alice explained; “There’s always this anxiety at being labelled just a feminist band because we’re actually a lot more versatile as artists than that”. “But see” Bianca adds, “now that we’ve found a much more feminist space, we are writing less feminist song” and this my friends, is important.
In terms of the band's influences, the list is in good company with the usual suspects Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and associated Kathleen Hanna side projects. But before you let your mind wander too far to in to the punk feminist world and get all riot grrrl on everyone, bassist Shannon adds “our songs aren't anthems, not at all, they are simply expressions of who we are”. Again. This is almost important.
Of course after our chat I had absolutely no doubts that the gig would be awesome. And of course, I was right. Actually no, the gig was phenomenal. RMC of course reminded everyone of just how many feelings one could feel in a short space of time and Shiny Coin brought the goods with a really polished sound. But it was the Girl Fridas who really stepped up to the plate and gave a stellar performance. Their songs seemed to have this element of depth and wit, which is something that can be so rare. The way they clicked together on stage, they continually won over the crowd who, like me, were just generally stoked at watching an awesome band play. I will definitely attestto what Alice told me at the end of the interview, “There is no point in half-arse-ing anything. I have to put 100% into everything I do, like my heart and soul. Because it’s not just ‘oh yeah we’re in a band yeah cool’ we give it everything”. And that they do. Listen to the Girl Fridas. And Crush the patriarchy, by daylight or otherwise.
Sailor Moon out.